Back at home after her first semester of college, our collegiate blogger Haley Ruffner reflects on the past few months.
I have officially completed my first semester of college as of yesterday morning — grades don’t come out officially until Monday, but I can say for sure at this point that I haven’t failed out! Cricket came home today and is enjoying being reunited with his pasture-mates, and I am enjoying home-cooked meals and unlimited naptime.
Having successfully completed my first semester of college, I can say that there are a few things that helped me to get through it and worked well:
First, learning to manage my time has been integral to staying organized — I know it’s preached to students everywhere and probably sounds cliche at this point, but I would say that balancing everything is the hardest thing to maintain. In high school, I had study halls built into my schedule and designated times every day I had to spend in class, at lunch, and various study halls. In college, there are no training wheels. If you want to skip class and spend all day asleep in your dorm room, there’s no one to stop you — but you will find out that it didn’t go unnoticed when grades come out. If you ride instead of doing homework or leave a project until the last minute, it’s exceedingly hard to catch up and have a good quality of work.
That being said, it’s easy for me to get caught up in how much work I have to do and forget to do anything else — it’s still important to eat, ride, and get out and take a break from studying every once in awhile. As the semester went on, I started my work earlier so that I would have time to break it up a little and not be stuck doing everything the night before or the morning it was due. Often, I would work at the barn so that I could ride and do homework while I waited for Cricket to dry under his cooler.
Taking an active role in student life and classes matters more now than in high school — nodding and saying “okay” to adults’ questions (professors or other staff) will only get you so far. Most people appreciate when you ask questions and clarify things — it shows that you’re actually paying attention and that you care about what’s going on.
I am more than happy that the semester is over and am looking forward to relaxing over winter break with my very fuzzy Cricket!
Haley Ruffner is attending Alfred University, majoring in English and minoring in Business and Equestrian Studies. She has a green Quarter Horse, At Last an Invitation “Cricket,” and he is also “enrolled” at Alfred. She rides western and hunt seat and also loves to rein and trail ride.